How Corporate Meditation Can Help Your Workplace Environment
We've all heard the buzz about meditation in the workplace or "corporate meditation." Benefits of mindfulness abound. In numerous studies, the general benefits of meditation have been found to help our bodies, minds, and spirits. So, to answer the question, what are the general benefits of meditation? Meditation:
- Decreases depression
- Decreases anxiety
- Decreases chronic pain
- Increases immune system function
- Increases creativity and problem solving
- Some studies at UCLA's MARC program show that mindfulness increases altruism
While mindfulness meditation has been shown to increase altruism, I have found that specific compassion meditations are much more effective at increasing altruism and our general relational well-being. This is particularly important in the workplace, where, whether we like it or not, we are part of a web of relationships with others - bosses, coworkers, direct reports, custodians, and more. This is why Lovewell prioritizes compassion in our workplace mindfulness coach online program and why it is a basis of our dating and relationship teachings as well. More on that in a moment.
Now, what exactly is workplace meditation? Or rather, what is corporate meditation?
Simply put, corporate meditation is mindfulness and meditation adapted for a business setting. This adaptation means that in 99% of cases, the meditation is entirely secular and devoid of religious or spiritual overtones. Corporate meditation practices are generally short (less than 20 minutes), approachable, and often center around a workplace-relevant theme such as stress management, productivity, or creativity. Corporate mindfulness may include extra activities such as journaling, yoga, stretching, or app-based support.
Why do companies like corporate meditation? What are the benefits of corporate meditation for companies?
The bottom line is that corporate meditation increases the bottom line. Corporate meditation has been shown to be one of the best ways to increase employee health and happiness, improve workplace relationships, increase employee loyalty and commitment, increase employee retention, decrease company turnover, and increase productivity, performance, and ultimately company profitability.
How does corporate meditation differ from meditating alone in your room or a sangha of like-minded practitioners?
Unlike more traditional meditation, corporate meditation is usually wholly secular. Practice sessions tend to be shorter at 10-20 minutes than traditional meditations, which can often be 45 minutes to an hour. Corporate meditation sessions tend to involve less deep personal sharing and interaction than a traditional sangha, and rather than a traditional "dharma talk" usually involves only a short thematic introduction to the meditation. An entire corporate meditation session, including talk and introduction, usually lasts about 30 minutes.
Now, back to the importance of compassion in corporate mindfulness. I personally feel this is an underutilized approach. We tend to forget that the basis of a healthy workplace is the respectful treatment of others. Compassion cultivates the skills and ability to be kind and respectful of others in our environment, whether we are near to them or not.
Simply put, compassion is defined as kindness in the presence of suffering. In many traditional forms of meditation, compassion practices are taught as an integral part of each sitting session. Practitioners will include a dedication of their practice's merit at the session's beginning or end. This dedication is a practice of generosity and a reminder that we are not just individuals living in a vacuum but rather just one part of a complex web of relationships. This practice of dedicating merit is essentially setting an intention to share the benefits of our practice with those who most need it, those who may not be able to practice for themselves due to their circumstance, or those who are suffering. This dedication is a regular practice in altruism and generosity. While you can probably clearly see how this practice would strengthen altruism more than a simple mindfulness practice of focusing on the breath alone, research in the emergent field of Mindful Self-Compassion has shown that compassionate mindfulness, as opposed to simple mindfulness practice, has also been shown to have the following benefits:
- Feel more pleasure
- Decrease self-criticism
- Increase self-confidence
- Increases ability to self-soothe
- Increase motivation
- Feel more care, empathy, and connection with others
- Lower inflammation
- Speed up recovery from disease
- Help regulate the nervous system when you feel frightened
If you're still skeptical, I understand. Those are a lot of high-level promises! Practicing regularly is the best way to experience what mindfulness has to offer. I recommend challenging yourself to 12 minutes a day after waking or sleeping for 30 days. Take a moment to journal about what happened after each session and note any changes you find after a month. Research has shown that 12 minutes a day is enough for some of the benefits mentioned in this article.
For more in-depth reading on mindful self-compassion and its benefits, check out 6 Ways Metta Dating Can Improve Online Dating - Lovewellsf or www.mindfulselfcompassion.org.
If you're looking for a meditation teacher for your business or corporation, the Lovewell team and I offer guided mindfulness classes tailored to your needs. We also offer online mindfulness coaching via our health and wellness coach, Drew Anne Wolfson (a trained mindfulness teacher specializing in mindful self-compassion!)
Lovewell, a healing and wellness center, aims to provide you with the best relationship and mindfulness tools in a welcoming, multicultural, and community-focused environment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. How can meditation increase productivity and efficiency at work?
A. Meditation helps to calm the mind by teaching you how to focus your attention, regulate your emotions, and not get carried away by distractions. It helps soothe the body, mind, and emotions, which is very beneficial for improving focus, which further aids in boosting one's productivity at work.
Q2. How does corporate meditation help management?
A. Meditation has been shown not only to increase productivity, but to reduce stress and lower blood pressure, which makes it easier for managers to respond effectively to their managees. Meditation also helps with focus and creativity, so managers can come up with creative solutions to challenges.
Q3. How do you incorporate meditation in the workplace?
A. If you're thinking about implementing meditation into your company culture, start with meditating for five minutes once a day. Encourage your managers to try this out on their own and set reminders to do it with their team once daily. A culture that supports taking wellness breaks is essential to seeing the benefits of mindfulness in the workplace.